Robert Spaemann blows a gasket...

Novus Ordo Philosopher Slams Francis: “Chaotic Pontificate” characterized by “Theological Apathy”

After the election of Jorge Bergoglio as “Pope” Francis on March 13, 2013, while various pseudo-traditionalist “experts” were still trying to put an unrealistically positive and hopeful spin on things, it took us a mere 21 days to make the following prediction on Twitter:

Since we do not acknowledge Bergoglio’s claim to the papacy as valid, we began to refer to him merely as “Chaos Frank”. After two years of leading the Vatican II Sect, we are now beginning to see more and more public figures likewise associate the theological train wreck from Buenos Aires with pure mayhem. One of them is Robert Spaemann, a conservative Novus Ordo philosopher in Germany, who finally broke his silence on the Argentinian apostate and lashed out at him in a public interview. In a special edition of the independent ecclesiastical review Herder Korrespondenz, Spaemann excoriated Francis for “theological apathy” and accused him, among other things, of “vacillating” in his course and of seeking a “transient symbolism”.

The following is a translation of the article “Spaemann-Kritik: Papst Franziskus ‘Aufbruch’ oder ‘Ausrutscher’? – ‘Kult der Spontaneität’” by Vatican journalist Giuseppe Nardi of the German Novus Ordo news site, which has traditionalist leanings.

(Freiburg) The most senior of German-speaking Catholic philosophers, 87-year-old Robert Spaemann had remained silent on the “Francis phenomenon” for a long time. Asked about it directly in the latest edition of Herder Korrespondenz Spezial, however, his modest restraint came to an end. Herder published a dual interview with Robert Spaemann and Hans Joas, which presents conflicting views on the way the current Pope exercises his ministry. The role of ecstatically cheering the Argentinian head of the Church, obligatory in some places since March 2013, fell to Joas.

A Chaotic Pontificate and Theological Apathy

Robert Spaemann gives Pope Francis extremely bad grades. [Spaemann is] a weighty voice who, after two years of silence and observation, no longer makes any secret of his disappointment, nay, his perturbation. The great German philosopher accuses Pope Francis not only of a “chaotic” manner of exercising his office, but — and this is much more serious — of theological apathy. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in its journalistic lingo recently dubbed Pope Francis the “Faux Pas Pope” and spoke of a “security risk” for the Catholic Church. [This is] an assessment Spaemann seems to share.

Transient Symbolism — Vacillating Course

The Pope wallows in a “cult of spontaneity”, according to Spaemann. The Argentine Pope seeks a transient symbolism while at the same time — and this is a truly damning assessment against a Pope — “not caring much” about theology.

Spaemann, the great thinker, looks in a truly indignant way at the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, whom a majority of cardinals elected to the Chair of Peter for reasons that are still hard to fathom.

The German philosopher uses prophetic words of Holy Scripture to express his aloofness: There will “come teachers who say things that sound appealing, and the people will follow these teachers.” [These are] words of disapproval for an undefinable, vacillating and therefore alarming course taken by the current head of the Church.

Spaemann objects that Francis, whom the media have characterized as “open-minded” since his election, is in reality quite an authoritarian Pope: Francis is “one of the most authoritarian [Popes] we’ve had in a long time”, [Spaemann says]. “If Benedict had said this, there would have been an uproar. But with Francis the focus is once again on papal authority. And not a single newspaper gets upset.”

“One Can’t Quite Escape the Feeling of Chaos”

“Just what the Holy Father intends to do now”, no one really knows [according to Spaemann]. Even Hans Joas had to agree with Spaemann on this. In other words: Even Francis’ enthusiastic supporters do not in fact know just where the “Bergoglio Train” is actually heading. “One can’t quite escape the feeling of chaos”, Spaemann said of Francis.

This also goes for the family synod, to part two of which Francis has invited people to Rome this coming October. The entire synod is “irritating” [says Spaemann], because the Pope has already taken sides.

It is by no means certain that Francis’ way will be perceived as a “new beginning” in the future [says Spaemann], and not perhaps as a “faux pas” instead.

Will the Spaemann interview make its way all the way to the Pope? At any rate, the thinker Spaemann accuses the Argentine Pope of only reading rarely. Too rarely.

[translated from]

We have been chronicling the ecclesiastical and theological chaos produced by “Pope Francis” from the very beginning. You can access the full laundry list here — but be forewarned: all clicking is at your own risk.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons (Jörg Noller)
License: CC BY-SA 2.0 DE

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